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How to Advertise on Google

A Beginner's Guide to Using Google Ads (Previously Google Adwords)

Using Google Ads (formerly known as Google Adwords) may be the most profitable decision you make for your business or organization. Learn how to use Google Ads effectively and leverage your return on investment.Using Google Ads might be the best decision you make for your business ( IF done correctly ).

This is not an exaggeration.

Searches on Google amount to over 3.5 billion times in a single day. With each search query comes an opportunity to showcase your business, brand, product or service.This means increasing leads, conversions, and sales for bottom of the funnel campaigns & website traffic, awareness e.t.c. for top of the funnel campaigns.

That’s where Google Ads comes in.

Google Ads allow you to advertise and promote your products and services when users search relevant keywords. When done right, it has the potential to turbo-charge leads and sales.Let’s take a look at what Google Ads are, how they work, and jump into the exact process you can use to set it up for your business today.

Bonus: Download a Free Google Ads Guide & Get started today.

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads is a paid online advertising platform offered by Google.Originally called Google Adwords, the search engine company rebranded the service as Google Ads in 2018.The way it works remains essentially the same: When users search a keyword(sometimes referred to as a search query), they get the results of their query on a search engine results page (SERP). Those results can include a paid advertisement that targeted that keyword.

For example, here are the results for the term “Fitness Studios.”

You can see that all the advertisements are on the top of the SERP. They also look nearly identical to organic search results save for the bolded “Ad” at the top of the post.This is good for the advertiser because the first results on Google typically get the vast majority of the traffic for search queries due to a higher Click-through-Ratio.

However, paying for advertising on Google doesn’t necessarily ensure the top spot. After all, you’ll likely have a lot of other marketers & businesses competing for the same keyword or search query through Google Ads.To understand how ranking works on Google Ads, let’s start off by first understanding how Google Ads work.

How Google Ads work

Google Ads operates under a pay-per-click (PPC) model. That means marketers target a specific keyword on Google and make bids on the keyword – competing with others also targeting the same keyword.The bids you make are “maximum bids” – or the maximum you’re willing to pay for an ad for a specific Keyword.

For example, if your maximum bid is $5 and Google determines that your cost per click is $3, then you get that ad placement! If they determine that it’s more than $5, you do not get the ad placement.

Alternatively, you can set a maximum daily budget for your ad. You’ll never spend more than a specific amount for that ad per day, helping you get a better sense of how much you should budget for your digital ad campaign. Worth noting is that, Google might spend more than your daily budget on days that it determines that a conversion is more likely but it will spend less on other days to even your budget out.

Marketers have three options for their bids:

  1. Cost-per-click (CPC). How much you pay when a user clicks on your ad.
  2. Cost-per-mille (CPM). How much you pay per 1000 ad impressions.
  3. Cost-per-engagement (CPE). How much you pay when a user performs a specific action on your ad (signs up for a list, watch a video, etc).

Google then takes the bid amount and pairs it with an assessment of your ad called a Quality Score. According to Google :

“Quality Score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions.”

The score number is between 1 and 10 – with 10 being the best score. The higher your score is the better you’ll rank and the less you have to spend converting your traffic on Google.Your Quality Score combined with your bid amount creates your Ad Rank – the position your ad will appear in the search results page (SERP).

And when a user sees the ad and clicks on it, the marketer pays a small fee for that click (thus pay-per-click).

The idea is that the more users click on a marketer’s advertisement, the more likely they will accomplish the advertisement’s goals (e.g. become a lead, make a purchase e.t.c.).

Now that you know how Google ads work, let’s take a look at the different types of Google ads you can use for your campaign.

Types of Google Ads

Google offers a variety of different campaign types that you can use:

  • Search campaign
  • Display campaign
  • Shopping campaign
  • Video campaign
  • App campaign
  • Performance Max campaign

Let’s take a look at each campaign type now to see how they work-and which you should choose.

Search campaign

Search campaign ads appear as a text ad in the results page (SERP) for the keyword.For example, here are the search campaign ads for the keyword “Watches”:


Google Search

These are the ads you’re probably most familiar with. They appear on the search result page with the black “Ad” symbol next to the URL.

Google has introduced Responsive Search Ads under search campaigns and this Search Ad format allows you and Google to test best performing search ads from a combination of 15 headlines, 4 descriptions and various extensions.

As you can see, though, text based ads aren’t the only type of ads in the Search Network. You can also have your ads appear in Google Shopping. That brings us to the next type of Google Ads campaign

Shopping campaign

A shopping campaign allows you to promote your products in a much more visual way. This type of Ad campaign is especially important for Retail stores that do eCommerce as well as Brick and Mortar.These ads can appear as images on the search results page:

Google Search

And they can appear under the “Google Shopping” section:

Google Search

If you have a physical product, Google Shopping ads can get qualified leads by showcasing your product directly to customers.

Also make sure to set up a Google Business profile ( Formerly Google my Business ) account, as well as a Google Merchant Center account.

Google Business Profile will allow you to showcase your business on Google Maps, which inherently improves visibility.

Read also our Guide to Advertising on Shopify

Let’s move on swiftly to our next Google Ads Campaign type…


Display campaign

The Display Network leverages Google’s vast website partners to showcase your ad on different websites all over the Internet.And there are a variety of different ways they appear. First, your ad can appear on third-party websites like so:

Search Engine Journal

You can also have a Display ad appear as a pre-roll before YouTube videos or as banner ads .Google also allows you to advertise your ad on its email platform Gmail

Gmail Ad

Finally, you can have your ad appear in third-party apps on Google’s app networkSome benefits of using the Display Network is its reach. Google partners with more than two million websites ( Websites with Google Adsense activated) and reaches more than 90% of all Internet users to help ensure your ad gets in front of as many eyeballs as possible

The ads themselves are also flexible in terms of style. Your ad can be a gif, text, a video, or image ( different aspect ratios ).

However, they don’t come without their downsides. Your ads might end up appearing on websites you don’t want them to or in front of videos that you don’t want your brand associated with. This hasn’t been more evident than with YouTube’s “Adpocalypse” throughout the past few years.

If you’re careful about where you’re putting your ads, though, the Display Network can be a great place to garner leads.

Google Ads provides you the option for targeted placements and exclusions. Use this feature to avoid your Display Ads from showing in random places.

On to the next Google Adword format …

Video campaign

These are ads that appear in the front, during and after YouTube videos in the form of pre-rolls, midrolls and postrolls. This is perfect if you have a great video ad idea you want to test out.The video campaign ads come in a variety of different forms. There are skippable video ads as well as unskippable video ads.

Video campaigns also allow for Ad sequencing, for example, if someone watches a video promoted in an ad sequence campaign,they’ll progress through the sequence without being served the same video.In an Ad sequence campaign , frequency cap per person is set at 1 by default in a 7-day period.

There are discovery ads which you can find on the search results page of specific keywords.

For more on this check out our podcast episode on Video advertising .

On to the next Ad campaign type …


App campaign

Like video ads, app ads are also included in the Display Network but can be used for targeted campaigns.For this, you don’t design each individual app ad. Instead, they’ll take your text and assets such as photos and they’ll furnish the ad for you.The algorithm tests different asset combinations and uses the one that performs the best more often.Now that you know the types of ads you can create with Google, let’s take a look at cost.

Google advertising cost

The average cost-per-click is typically between $1 and $2 for most industries and in 2022-2023 companies are expected to spend $9,000 to $30,000 more on Google Ads.However, the cost of your specific Google Ad varies on a number of factors. Those factors include :

  • Quality Score
  • Ad Rank
  • Campaign and ad settings, like budget, bid, keywords, and targeting
  • Industry
  • Google Ad network
  • PPC tools and services

As such, the cost is going to vary from ad to ad.To understand how much Google advertising is going to cost your business, you need to first understand the Ad Auction system.When a user searches a keyword you’re targeting, Google automatically jumps into auction mode and compares your Ad Rank with that of every other marketer targeting that keyword.

If you think a big ad budget with large maximum bid amounts to rank well, think again. Google’s Ad Auction and Ad Rank system favors websites that help users most with a high Quality Score over lower ones.So you might see your CPC be much lower than a huge Fortune 500 company with a big ad budget just because your advertisement was of better quality.Now that you know the cost, the types of ads you can make, and what Google Ads are, let’s take a look at how you can optimize your ads with Google Keyword Planner, a free tool on Google Ads.

How to use Google Keyword Planner for your ads

Google Keyword Planner is Google’s free keyword tool to help you choose keywords your business should target.The way it works is simple: Search for words and phrases related to your business in the keyword planner. It’ll then furnish insights on those keywords such as how often people search for it ( Search Volume ).

It’ll also give you suggested bids for amounts you should bid on the keyword as well as how competitive certain keywords are.From there, you’ll be able to make better decisions regarding your Google Ads campaign. Keep in mind, however, while Keyword planner can provide you without a lot of insights regarding your planned campaign, campaign performance is reliant on a variety of factors which include :

  • Bid
  • Budget 
  • Product
  • Customer behaviour in your industry e.t.c.

Getting started with Google’s Keyword planner is relatively simple .Head on to your Google Ads Account . Click on Tools and Settings in the top navigation bar. Under Planning, click on Keyword Planner. If you don’t have a Google Ads account, start by setting one up…


Setting up your Google Ads account

Make sure you’re signed into your Google account. Once you do, click on New Google Ads Account in the middle of the page.On the next page, confirm your business information is accurate by choosing your country, time zone, and currency. Once all looks good, click Submit.

When you do, you’ll be sent to a congrats page. Click on Explore Your Campaign. Make sure to check and make use of any promotions Google Ads might be running for new accounts. 

Go to Google Keyword Planner

You’ll then arrive to your Google Ads campaign dashboard. Click on Tools & Settings in the top menu. Then click on Keyword Planner.You’ll then be sent to the Google Keyword Planner. To find new keywords to target, use their Discover new keywords tool. This tool allows you to search for relevant keywords and generate a list of ideas for new keywords you could target.

Let’s look at an example: Imagine you’re running a running shoe store. You might want to target keywords around running shoes and race training.

When you click Get Results it’ll furnish you with your list of keywords and show you the following information about them:

  • Average monthly searchers
  • Competition
  • Ad impression share
  • Top of page bid (low range)
  • Top of page bid (high range)

It’ll also show you a list of suggested keyword ideas too.There you have it. That’s how you can get started using Google Keyword Planner.

Advertising on Google ( Easy Method )

There are multiple ways to advertise on Google.If this is your first time advertising, you’re going to get a very hand-holdy process that’ll help you easily set up your Google ad. If this isn’t your first rodeo and you already have a Google Ad account, skip this section and move onto the next one.If not, keep reading!

In order to advertise on Google, you must first have a Google account for your brand or business.

If you don’t have one yet, that’s okay! Follow this link for instructions on how to create one  or look up the previous paragraph on setting up a Google Ads account.

Once you have your account up and running, you’re ready to advertise on Google.

Step 1: Define a winning goal

First, head to the Google Ads homepage . From there, click on the Start Now button in the middle of the page or the top right hand corner.If you’re sent to your dashboard, click on + New Campaign .You’ll then need to choose your campaign goal. Choosing this goal will let Google know the type of audience you’ll want to target, as well as how they’ll get your bid money.

There are a variety of goals you can choose from. Once you do, it’ll help furnish the right type of ad for you.

Tip: A solid, well-defined goal can mean the difference between creating a lead generating machine with your Google Ads campaign, and seeing your time and money wasted.

And to set good goals, you need to learn how to set SMART objectives. SMART goals help your business to build systems to achieve your Google Ads objectives. 

Step 2: Choose your business name and keywords

Once you’ve chosen your goals, click Next. On the next page, you’ll need to provide a business name.Click Next once you add your business name. You’ll now be able to add a URL to where users will go after they click on your ad.On the next page, you can choose the keyword themes that match your ad and brand. Remember the work you did with Google Keyword Planner? This is where it might come in handy.

After you’ve chosen your keywords click Next.

Step 3: Choose your target audience

On the next page, you’ll be able to choose where you want to target your ad. This can be near a specific address such as a physical storefront or location. Or it can be broader regions, cities, or zip codes.

Choose the region you want to target. Once you do, click Next.

Step 4: Craft your Ad

Now it’s time for the fun part: Crafting the actual ad itself.In this section, you’ll be able to create the ad’s headline as well as the description. All of it is made even easier with the ad preview box on the right side.

Google also offers helpful tips and sample ads for you to jumpstart your ad writing.There’s only one thing you need to know about writing great ad copy: Know your audience.That’s it. There’s no big secret or trick to writing captivating copy. Once you know your target market and exactly what their pain points are, you’ll be able to create content that’ll send them click on your ad faster than you can say, “Don Draper.”

Step 5: Set up your billing

This part is straightforward. Enter in all of your billing information as well as any promotional codes you might have for a discount.

Then click on Submit.

Congratulations! You just created your first Google Ad!

Don’t celebrate just yet. You still need to learn how to track your Google Ad with Google Analytics.

Advertising on Google ( Advanced Method )

Here is the more hands on approach to creating a Google Ad.

Note: This method assumes you’ve already entered your payment information into Google Ad. If you haven’t done that yet, go to your Google Ads dashboard, then click on Tools & Settings.

Under Billing click on Settings. There you’ll be able to set up your payment info.

Step 1: Define your goals

First, head to the Google Ads homepage . From there, click on the Start Now button in the middle of the page or the top right hand corner.If you’re sent to your dashboard, click on + New Campaign .You’ll then need to choose your campaign goal. Choosing this goal will let Google know the type of audience you’ll want to target, as well as how they’ll get your bid money.

With your goal chosen, a window appears where you select your campaign type. The options are:

  • Search
  • Display
  • Shopping
  • Video
  • Smart
  • Discovery

From here, the directions are going to change depending on what type of campaign you choose. The broad steps remain the same though.Choose your campaign type, enter in the specific information Google requests for that type, then click on Continue.

Step 2: Choose your targeting and budget

For this example, we’ll be going with a Search campaign to generate leads.Here you can choose the networks you want your ad to appear.And you can choose the specific location, languages, and audiences your ad will appear to.It’s natural to think that the bigger your radius, the more business you get – but that might not be the case. In fact, the more clear and defined about who you’re targeting, the more leads and conversions you’ll be able to make.

It’s paradoxical, but the smaller of a net you cast, the more fish you’ll catch.It also makes sense to target a smaller area if your business is based primarily in one city. Like if you offer physical products or retail in Chicago, you probably wouldn’t want to include Los Angeles in your target.

In the next section, you’ll be able to put in actual bids and budget for your ad campaign.Enter the budget you want, as well as the type of bidding you want to target.In the last section, you’ll be able to include Ad extensions. These are additional pieces of copy you can add onto your ad to make it even better.

When you’re done with this page, click on Save and Continue.

Step 3: Set up the ad group

An ad group is a group of ads you might have that share the same themes and target. For example, you might have multiple ads targeting running shoes and race training. You might want to create an ad group for “running” in that case.

Add your keywords or enter in your website URL and Google will furnish them for you. Once you add the keywords you want for this ad group, click on Save and Continue at the bottom.

Step 4: Craft your ad

Now it’s time to actually create the ad.In this section, you’ll be able to create the ad’s headline as well as the description. All of it is made even easier with the ad preview box on the right side. There you’ll be able to look at previews of your ad on mobile, desktop, and display ad.

Once you’ve created your ad, click Done and Create Next Ad if you want to add another ad to your ad group. Otherwise, click on Done.

Step 5: Review and publish

In this next page, review your ad campaign. Make sure that any and all issues are addressed. Once everything looks good, click Publish. Voila! You just created a Google Ad campaign!

How to track your Google Ad with Google Analytics

There’s a quote from Adam Savage of Mythbusters that fits here:The only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down.The same applies for marketing. If you’re not tracking and analyzing your Google Ad campaign, then you’re going to gain very little from it.By analyzing your data, you’re going to learn the tweaks you need to make to your future campaigns to make them more successful.

To do so, you’re going to want to link your Google Ads with Google Analytics.

Once you do that, follow these steps from Google to link the two services:

  1. Go to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click the Tools menu.
  3. Click Linked accounts under Setup.
  4. Click Details under Google Analytics.
  5. You can now view the Google Analytics websites you can access. Click Set up link on the website you want to link to Google Ads.
  6. From here, you’ll be able to link the Google Analytics view of your website.
  7. Click Save.

You’ll now be able to view vital metrics such as costs and click data of your Google Ad on Analytics. This is vitally important for determining future campaign adjustments and measuring the success of your current campaigns.From here, you’re going to want to set up tags to track conversions you gain from your ad. 


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